Softball Infielder Tips: How to Barehand a Ground Ball

Making the play on a “slow-roller” progression part 1.

The barehanded slow roller is a difficult play, which means you should only bare hand the softball if there is not enough pace on it to use your glove. You should make the barehanded play when the ball has already stopped or in its last rotation. Another reason to bare hand the ball is due to the speed of the runner. You may have to grab the ball and make a throw to have any chance of getting a fast runner out.

This play requires efficiency, but you need to make sure the priority is on the softball itself. Make sure to secure it first. A common error that is made is peaking toward the runner at first base a little bit early as the balls is coming toward you. Because of this, you’re much less likely to pick up the ball cleanly.

To work on the bare hand play, prop the softball up on a cone and walk up to it so you get used to the feeling of picking it up. After getting that feel, gradually quicken your pace. It’s important to build up to the speed of play in a game situation.

The next step is to pick it off the cone and then step and throw. Maintain focus on the softball as you secure it in your hand, and then finish the throw. Remember, you can’t make the throw if you don’t have the ball.

From there, your coach (or a teammate) can remove the cone and roll the ball to you. It is important that the ball is rolled slowly enough that it’s almost stopped by the time you pick it up. There should be continued focus on locking it into your hand and making a good throw to first base.

While bare handing the softball can be riskier play than fielding with your glove, practice, and practice some more, so that you have the confidence to secure the ball and get the out when you need to.